Mindl the Mender
I have a vivid memory of sitting in my bedroom at 6 years old, carefully and delicately sewing a tear in an old down pillow my mother had given me. Choosing a bright colored thread, threading the needle, and doing the whip stitch my Bubbe (grandmother) had taught me, the down feathers sticking up through each stitch.
I didn't know what I was doing was called visible mending-intentionally choosing contrasting fabrics and materials to adorn a tear or rip rather than try to conceal it- I just wanted my pillow to last longer!
I continued to visible mend through my whole life, adding patches to big rips in my denim as a teenager, learning all the delicate and breathtaking stitches of embroidery that I could memorize, rummaging through thrift store buckets for scrap fabrics from the 70's to repair old dresses. I found so much solace and stillness in this practice without ever knowing it was a practice.
In the Summer of 2020, I came across “Mending Life: A Handbook for Repairing Clothes and Hearts” by Nina and Sonya Montenegro, and I learned about visible mending even deeper and dove into technique. By that point, I had tried my hand at crochet, knitting, wood carving, leather work, macrame, weaving, botanical dyeing, felting, and countless other crafts that all gave me a different joy. Nothing made me feel at home more than visible mending and I knew I had found MY craft.
I began offering visible mending as a service when I owned and operated a small general store in the Catskills. Neighbors and locals flooded in with family heirloom sweaters, blankets, sports gear, t-shirts, jeans, knit caps, and even sneakers. It seemed like everyone had something they loved that just needed a little extra care and attention. Soon, I started to get messages from people in Canada and California and Texas with stockpiles of hole-y socks and beloved denim that needed mending. The little seed I had planted and thought would only encourage friends and family to bring me items, grew so fast and so strong, I decided to make visible mending my official path.
I eventually closed the store and moved to Burlington where I joyfully accept mending work from all over the country. I hope you find some inspiration to make that favorite garment last a little longer and if you need some help, send me a message. I’ll be waiting needle in hand!